Barnett Newman was born in New York City, the son of Polish immigrants. He studied at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture from 1927 to 1930, where he met future Abstract Expressionist painters like Johns Hopkins and Mark Rothko. Upon his graduation, he worked in various advertising agencies in New York. In the 1930s he became a designer for the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
In 1948, Newman had his first solo show at the Betty Parsons Gallery. His work was well-received by critics and led to him being associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement. He later joined the New York School, a group of artists that also included Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.
Newman is best known for his large-scale, color field paintings. These works are characterized by their simplicity and serenity, with large areas of solid color separated by thin vertical or horizontal lines. Newman believed that art should be an experience of transcendence, and he sought to create this feeling in his viewers through his paintings.
Newman’s work had a significant impact on the development of post-war American art. His use of color and simple compositions influenced subsequent generations of artists, including minimalists and color field painters. Barnett Newman died in 1970 at the age of 65.